A director from Norway, whose movie credits include the critically acclaimed Agent Cody Banks as well as the unforgettable, One Night at McCool's is thrilled someone thought so highly of his latest work as to pirate his latest oeuvre, Long Flat Balls 2. (Unfortunately, I missed the classic which preceded it.)
"I think it's perfectly fine that some people choose to post the movie online. It shows that people are interested in it. In the IT society of today it's naive to think that this wouldn't happen. We consider it a huge compliment. After all, what has happened is that someone has smuggled a camera into a theater and then recorded the whole movie."
OK, whatever. To each his own, I say. And I'm obviously having sport at Zwart's expense. He's not going to be confused with Bergmann or Felini but he is signed up to do a Pink Panther sequel in 2009.
Then while eating lunch, a colleague pointed out this commentary by Mike Masnick at TechDirt and I laughed so hard I nearly passed a cheese sandwich through my nostrils:
"While the folks back in Hollywood have acting (sic) as though people with camcorders were a huge threat to the movie business, it appears that some folks outside of the Hollywood machine recognize that it's not such a bad thing at all...In fact, it appears his only real problem is that the quality of recording isn't so great, though he notes that hopefully this will drive more people to the theater to see a better quality version. It's nice to see more folks in the movie business recognizing that unauthorized copies aren't the end of the world.
As TechDirt is wont to say, that is straight from the, "exception-which-proves-the rule department." Pierre-Joseph Proudhon would have loved that business model. Since it's so uncool to be proprietary anymore, I'm sure the blog's everythingshouldbefree-meister won't mind a mild rewrite of that terribly tendentious lede. To wit:
"A Norwegian master of B moviemaking is thrilled someone would actually invest the time and effort to rip off one of his schlock extravaganzas so that the Porky's crowd won't have to do without this spring...and so on and so forth."
Ah, now that's more like it. Though back in the real world, I very much doubt most directors would be sanguine to learn that a goofball had ripped off their latest film. Unfortunately, creative people are unfairly paying for the sins of their corporate masters.
There is a history to overcome. The movie and recording industries have been so willfully stupid about coexisting with new technology for so long that you knew this was coming. Truth be told, it's hard to feel sorry about the extent of the popular blowback, even when it reaches such silly extremes. What's more, Schumpeter was right about capitalism's creatively destructive tendencies and Hollywood will have to figure out how to survive in a new era where technology can be its best friend or worst enemy.
So far the recording moguls have made nearly all the wrong moves. Maybe their cross-town neighbors will have better luck.